Brussels – The Energy Security Communication, adopted this morning by the European Commission, fails to articulate an ambitious, long-term strategy to reduce the EU’s growing import dependency – in particular for natural gas – because the no-regret option of reducing energy demand is not at the core of this strategy. About 40% of the EU’s gas consumption is used to heat and cool buildings. Yet, the Communication offers no in-depth plan to reduce gas consumption in key sectors such as buildings, industry, transport and power by means of renewables and energy efficiency. Rather, the Commission’s main focus is switching from Russia to other suppliers of gas in the hope of finding “abundant supply of energy”. Food & Water Europe fails to see how recent discoveries of potential offshore oil and gas in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, pipeline gas from Azerbaijan, fracked gas from the US, LNG exports from Algeria, Libya, etc. will strengthen the reliability of gas supplies to EU consumers and business at an affordable price.
“It is baffling that the European Commission prioritizes highly uncertain supplies of gas from autocratic regimes like Azerbaijan, LNG exports from the United States or large-scale fracking in the EU in a strategy that seeks to improve the reliability of gas supplies to the EU”, said Food & Water Europe Director Geert De Cock. “Rather than looking for non-existent ‘abundant’ energy supplies, the Commission should have recognized that energy is and will remain scarce for the foreseeable future and that demand reduction for natural gas is the only no-regret option for the EU”.
About 40% of the EU’s annual gas consumption is used for the heating and cooling of buildings. Investing in renovations of existing building stock and renewable heating & cooling solutions are no-regret options, contribute to climate ambitions, support EU industries and create jobs in the EU. Sadly, these options remain underexplored. By all but ignoring this fact, the European Commission has made it impossible to come up with meaningful and cost-effective answers on the EU’s growing import dependency in the long term.
Contact: Geert Decock tel. +32 (0)2 893 10 45, mobile +32 (0)484 629.491, gdecock(at)fweurope.org